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7th Day of CRMas: Stop Sync Grinch

Outlook sync is great. It allow us to keep our calendars and contacts in Outlook (or other exchange clients if you use Server Sync) in sync, so that when an update is made in Outlook, the CRM contact or activity is up to date. it’s a beautiful thing. I can track a contact, somebody else can update her phone number in Dynamics CRM, and suddenly I have the new phone number on my smartphone. We’re all in harmony.

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 But alas, the Sync Grinch sometimes comes to try to steal our joy. Let’s say that someone accidentally updates a phone number on their phone, and it overwrites our good data in CRM with a bad or outdated number. This can happen when other apps on your phone,like the LinkedIn app, updates your phone contacts with an old number from LinkedIn, which then synchronizes to CRM. For some companies, maintaining a master data list for contacts in CRM is very important, and rogue syncs can put that data quality at risk.

Or consider appointment notes. Users frequently use the meeting description to enter notes from the meeting. While I discourage this (it’s a big text field, real note records are better), it is very attractive to use this field, as it is available from the user’s phone calendar, and in some clients it is called “notes.” If you use Server Sync, any change to the appointment will cause a meeting update to go out to the meeting attendees. Even if the meeting occurred in the past. So the Sync Grinch may try to send an update to your client with some candid notes from the meeting, which could lead to some embarrassing discussions.

CRM 2015 introduces the ability to configure the sync pipe. What this means is that you can now control what fields synchronize between CRM and Exchange.

I can select the desired entity and click the “Sync Direction” arrow for each field whose sync properties I wish to modify.

A two-way arrow means full two-way synch (the default), or I can select to have the field only synchronize one way, or not at all.

While we can’t create new sync relationships, being able to turn off undesired field synchronization is a big step forward, and will help to put us back in harmony.